SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.
If you’re looking for a way to store meat without refrigeration, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you are prepping for an impending emergency, or just trying to live off the grid, food storage is going to be an important part of your planning.
You probably already know that you can store a lot of foods without a fridge. Most of us do this already in our homes and in our pantries. You have rice, beans, pasta, sugar, and other items in your pantry or shelves in the kitchen.
The same is true for living off the grid, or in an emergency situation. Planning storage for those items won’t be so hard. However, learning to store meat without refrigeration is essential in survival situations. If that power goes out, you can’t depend on the modern conveniences we have today.
But here’s the thing: People did it before, right? You can learn more about curing and brining meat, and how to preserve meat with salt. Then you’ll understand how people did it back in the day.
And we all know that if SHTF, we’re going to wish we knew how they did things in more “primitive” days. So, learning how to preserve meat by smoking or the methods we mentioned above will be very useful. Let’s take a look at nine ways to store meat without refrigeration.
9 Ways to Store Meat Without Refrigeration
As you know, storing grains and veggies without a fridge may be easy. But what about the other good foods you love to eat? Canned meats and beef jerky just won’t do the trick long-term and they definitely don’t taste as good.
What if there was another way? As we mentioned above, there are at least eight different ways you can store meats without a fridge and we’re going to teach you how. You can have all the tools needed to keep yourself and your family healthy and well-fed, even during an emergency.
We’ll look at methods like smoking, curing, brining, canning, dehydrating, freeze drying, and more. We’re going to go over those ways here so you can plan ahead and know how to keep your meat fresh if the fridge (electricity) goes out for a long time.
Let’s take a look:
One of the most well-known ways to store meat without refrigeration is through smoking. It’s one of the oldest and truest methods, too. This method was commonly used in places that were high in humidity, making air-drying difficult.
In modern times, we don’t use smoking as much anymore because smoke can contain carcinogens. But it does give the meat a good flavor. While it is recommended to use smoked meat sparingly, you can keep some on hand in case of emergencies.
If you want to use smoking as a method of storing meat without the fridge, you can prep some now and keep it on hand. If the SHTF, you’ll be ready to go. Your family won’t suffer in an emergency situation.
2. Freeze Drying
Another option to consider is freeze drying. This method is not as practical for some people because you need to purchase a freezer dryer. However, if you have the means to by one, or if you already have one, this could be a great option.
There are also home models of freezer dryer machines, so you can get one to meet your needs and budget. Then you just put the meat inside and use the machine according to the directions. It’s lightweight and easy to use.
You can use it for leftovers, for game you’ve hunted, or for pretty much any need you have with your meat. Freeze drying will maintain almost all of the nutrients in the food. It also makes for lightweight food so you can use it for emergency travel, backpacking and other storage in emergency situations.
3. Lard Storage
Storing in lard is another option, although it won’t work in every situation. If you’re a hunter (or hunting in a survival situation) you can use this when butchering an animal that has a lot of fat.
Raw and cooked meat can be stored in a crock with melted lard. This lard will prevent the growth of bacteria by not allowing any air to get to the meat. This means your meat stays good.
It’s cheap and effective and you don’t need any special equipment to make it work.
4. Natural Refrigeration/ Freezing
This is not the most reliable method, but it’s worth mentioning as a backup. Many people have heard of this method before, although it is not used anymore in our modern society. If you live in a cold climate, natural refrigeration or freezing may be an option.
In an emergency situation, you can store meat outside in the winter. You need to keep an eye on the thermometer, especially as the weather starts to warm up. If it gets too warm, bacteria will start to grow on your meat and it will spoil.
Spoiled meat is no longer good for human consumption so if you use this method, be cautious. If you live in a very cold climate with snow and cold temperatures for a lot of months, then it’s more practical than someone who lives in a warmer climate that only gets snow a few times a year.
Another option you can look into is building a backyard root cellar that can be used to refrigerate meats, just like your great-grandparents used to do!
This method is one of the easiest to do and it can also be used on your vegetables. You can use an electric dehydrator or a solar dehydrator. If you are using an electric dehydrator to store your meat without refrigeration, consider getting a bigger one.
An electric dehydrator is probably the most convenient to use today. However, if you lose electricity in a survival situation, that’s not going to help. In this case, having a solar dehydrator would be better. You can dehydrate a lot of meat now and store it for future use.
6. Pressure Canning
Pressure canning is also an option for preserving meat without a fridge. Note that you can NOT use water canning for your meat. It’s just not acidic enough to work this way.
But if you have a pressure canning machine, this will help you store your meat. They are affordable and they even work for homesteaders or preppers in a small living space. A pressure canner may be the right investment for you if you want to use this method of meat preservation.
Here’s an old method of storing the meat that still works today. It will take some time and effort but it’s worth it and it does work. It’s also cheap and easy to do. Brine is (typically) a mixture of water, sugar and salt.
Your meat is preserved by being weighed down in a crock with the brine. You need a cool area as you do with curing.
Brining is another way to store your meat without refrigeration. It’s a simple, traditional technique that can still be used today, especially in an emergency situation.
9. Homesteading with Live Animals
What better way to keep meat fresh for a long time, than keeping live animals?
Most folks should be able to raise small animals like chickens and rabbits. Depending on your resources, you may want to kick it up a level and have cows or goats on the homestead. You can also stock a pond with fish and perhaps, if you are able to, ducks.
Once you butcher your animals for the meat, then you can use the above techniques to further preserve the protein they provide. That’s the essence of self-sufficiency.
Why It’s Important
You may already know that protein is important for you. It is one of the building blocks of life. Meat is a top source of protein for humans. Meat is going to help you recover more quickly after a long day of a survival situation.
While there are other ways of getting the protein you need, meats are still at the top for most people.
Wrapping it Up
In today’s society, it’s more important than ever before to be prepared for anything. We never know what is going to happen but we can help ensure our family is protected and prepared for whatever does come our way. What are some ways you’re planning now for whatever could happen for your family?
Which of these methods of meat storage do you prefer?
Bonus: How to Make Pemmican, the Original Survival Food
Invented by the natives of North America pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers.
Native Americans spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration.
Pemmican is a portable, long-lasting, high-energy food. It's made of lean, dried meat that's crushed into powder and mixed with hot, rendered fat. This makes it one of the ultimate foods to have stockpiled for when SHTF or disaster strikes.
People really should avert their gaze from the modern survival thinking for just a bit and also look at how folks 150 years ago did it.
These guys were the last generation to practice basic things, for a living, that we call "survival skills" now.